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How The Buffalo News is covering Covid-19 – while working to keep everyone safe

Mike Connelly

What a difficult week.

In the span of seven days, the coronavirus pandemic closed big parts of the New York economy. People lost their jobs. Most of us hunkered down in our homes, by choice or edict. Western New Yorkers started getting sick. Local officials say it is only a matter of time until Covid-19 takes lives.

At The Buffalo News, we spent the week hustling to cut through the rumors and misinformation, get the facts and make sense of a gusher of developments – while grappling with how to safely cover a pandemic.

News reporters and photographers are flooding the story. The coronavirus has scrambled so much of our lives, every News reporter and photographer is involved in the coverage. The result: In just the past five days on BuffaloNews.com, we published nearly 250 local stories about the pandemic.

Most of the staff is working remotely. Our No. 1 rule for reporters, photographers and editors: Be safe. On March 12, we told most of the company – including most of the newsroom – to work from home. As we all have learned, that is social distancing 101. Our snowstorm preparations made it an easy transition.

On the scene, our journalists take precautions. Photographers can't do their jobs from home, and some stories must be reported on the scene. But both reporters and photographers can keep their distance. I heard one conversation this week about having a photographer stand outside and shoot a portrait through a window.

At The Buffalo News building downtown and at our other locations, we are sanitizing and dispersing. To run the presses and deliver newspapers, some workers must be in our buildings. We are doing everything we can to make them safe.

Here's how to keep up with the story:

On BuffaloNews.com, we are reporting developments moment by moment. Then as fast as we can, we are reporting and writing stories that go beyond the gusher. Context. The big picture. Advice. Personal stories. Hopeful stories.

This week, reporter Matt Spina told the exclusive stories of two of Erie County's first coronavirus cases: Covid-19 patient: 'It's made me feel like I'm some sort of a typhoid Mary' and Second patient says Erie County wrongly told her she didn't have Covid-19.

Business columnist David Robinson, who has covered the Western New York economy for more than three decades, is looking around the corner at what may come next. Friday's installment: The math is scary: How Covid-19 could swamp the Buffalo Niagara economy.

Then there was the most-read story of the week: I went to Wegmans at 5:47 a.m. Saturday. Oh. My. God.

In the newspaper, we collect the best reporting from BuffaloNews.com and add national and international news. Because there are so many ways to get the day's national and international developments – and get them long before the newspaper lands on your doorstep – our editors search for stories that piece together what it all means. Two examples from the past week: Coronavirus may radically change life in the U.S. and Impact of virus on job market looks to be deep and long-lasting.

Only on BuffaloNews.com. Even if you prefer the newspaper, check out BuffaloNews.com. For any newspaper, newsprint is limited. Digital space isn't. We publish many stories and photos only on BuffaloNews.com.

Our newsletters are the hottest new way keep up on the story. Good Morning Buffalo, our early morning newsletter, has been called "a perfect news product" by a leading journalism organization. Our daily coronavirus newsletter has a bigger circulation than the newspaper. Sign up for both at BuffaloNews.com/newsletters.

We have made coronavirus coverage free on BuffaloNews.com, but I hope our reporting shows the value of subscribing. The news business – print and broadcast – is powerfully disrupted by the digital age. At The News, we are working hard to keep the newspaper strong and to build digital news coverage that will keep The News vital for decades to come. But we need your support.

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